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Multi-Axis Servo Control Costs

Multi-Axis Servo Control Costs

Multi-Axis Servo Control Costs

I am currently conceptually designing the mechanical aspects of a multi-axis gantry type pick and place machine, and would like to know more about the costs of servo motor controls (not the motors themselves), before I go to different suppliers or automation companies.

There are 4 individual multi-axis 'Robots' within the machine, and each 'Robot' will have X+Y+Z+A axes (16 motors total).
The system is fed by product coming onto a 1000mm wide conveyor, and placed accurately placed (+/- 1mm) in sequence into open packaging on an adjacent conveyor. The location/timing of the product placement will be assisted by an camera that scans the images of random product on the start of the infeed belt.

Each Robot has the following:
X Axis - 2 Servo motors (240v, 1.5A Continuous, 6A Peak)
Y Axis - 1 Servo motor (240v, 1.5A Continuous, 6A Peak)
Z Axis - 1 Servo motor (240v, 0.6A Continuous, 2.4 Peak)
A Axis- 1 Servo motor (unknown, but less than 0.3A cont)

I also need linear (not rotary) encoders to about 0.1mm resolution:
8 x 2000mm
4 x 100mm

Plus an industrial camera at the start of the product feed conveyor.

Is there anything else I may have missed?
Active line module or DC Bus?
Motor cables?
Industrial PC?

In my limited experience of pricing for this type of machine, each manufacturer can potentially have quite a different approach to spec'ing a job like this. I was wondering whether anyone would be prepared to put down some ballpark figures for me to work with, so I can go to various suppliers knowing what to expect.

Any information/suggestions/discussion would be greatly appreciated.


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RE: Multi-Axis Servo Control Costs


Your questions are highly dependent on specifics of system loads/speeds etc. That being said in the past as a rule of thumb, I've used $8kUSD/axis of motion for servo systems. Please note that this is highly dependent on system a broad range of system specific variables that need to be taken into account and only takes into account the hardware(motors, drivers, cables, etc). System programming costs are highly dependent on who is doing the work and depending on whose servos you end up with, there might be software costs as well(Some manufactuers charge for development software, some give it away with the purchase of the hardware)

For the Camera System, once again, it is highly dependent on the system design and requirements. The more detail that you need to see in the objects being viewed, the higher the resolution and therefore the higher the price of the camera. Don't forget that you will also need an encoder on the conveyor to let the pick and place gantry know the speed of the object it is picking up. Also, what kind of control system are you feeding the camera input back into? If you are going back into the motion system, this might warrant some fairly complex programming. For reference purposes figure about $30kUSD for the camera and encoder.

Given that you are building a pick and place gantry, have you thought of approaching one of the suppliers of pick and place robots? ABB, Fanuc, etc. They have already done the integration of the servo gantry's, they have prepackaged camera interfaces that already have the programming horsepower and it frees up your time to focus on the end application and integration of the full system.


Richard Nornhold, PE

RE: Multi-Axis Servo Control Costs

Thanks very much for the info, it is quite helpful. I guess when looking at pricing etc, you end up asking more questions than you answer sometimes! Looks like I have a bit more to think about, and particularly in terms of the camera/software side of things.
The system would essentially be the speed/placement of an ABB IRB360, but with multiple pick/place heads. The design allows my 4 pick heads to be quite close together, resulting in a far more compact package.

I think that perhaps I need to start discussing with some local companies more about the controls, as the price sounds like it will really differ depending on the individual situation.

Many thanks

RE: Multi-Axis Servo Control Costs


Just curious why you are looking at four (4) up tooling on the end gripper? Is it cycle time? What kind of load are your looking to move?


Richard Nornhold, PE

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